Bloody Lies


Thomas Mollett & Calvin Mollett

Penguin; 2014

213 pages + 16 full-colour page section


This book daringly challenges one of the most controversial murder cases in recent South African history. In 2007 Fred van der Vyver was acquitted of the 2005 murder of his girlfriend Inge Lotz. He then sued the police to the highest court for malicious prosecution – and failed. In spite of the defence’s trashing of the prosecution’s case at the trial, brothers Thomas and Calvin Mollett provide a compelling argument of how every key element of the prosecuting evidence withstands the closest scrutiny. They use models, measurements, forensic tests, mathematical formulae, and the views of experts both here and overseas. The authors show how an ornamental hammer found in Van der Vyver’s vehicle, but thrown out as evidence, could match Inge’s head wounds. Contrary to the claim accepted in court, they convincingly argue that a disputed fingerprint was not lifted off a drinking glass found in Inge’s flat – a detail that could make all the difference. They demonstrate how blood marks on a towel could have come off the hammer, how bloodstains on the floor could have been shaped by a specific shoe, and how a closer look at cellphone records reveals a different choreography of movements than what was accepted by the court. Could it be that two amateurs succeeded where the state prosecution failed? Thomas and Calvin have made headlines with their findings and were featured on Carte Blanche. They were also vilified, but not proven wrong – leaving wide open one of the most harrowing unsolved murder cases on record.

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  1. piquet

    Intense, detailed study
    The Witness – 01/07/2014
    Reviewer: David Pike

    Following on Antony Altbeker’s 2011 Fruit of a Poisoned Tree, this new examination of the 2005 murder of Inge Lotz delves with intense thoroughness and scrupulous objectivity into every single aspect of this savage crime, especially the actual evidence used in the court case and how it was used.

    Interestingly, the authors call themselves “two very average guys in search of the truth”, and “amateurs”. They also have science degrees. As to why they embarked on such painstaking research, Thomas describes himself as “pathologically curious”.

    But, in a moving epilogue, the authors declare: “We all have an Inge close to us. A daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend. Both Calvin and I have beautiful daughters. We cannot sit idly by while the Inges out there are butchered to death and experts sit happily in their protected worlds, heralded as heroes … One’s life is never the same after having looked into the eyes of Inge’s parents.”

    And later: “Imagine you walk into a room and see the body of a young woman beaten beyond recognition by a blunt object – nearly 15 times – and stabbed about 20 times. There is blood everywhere. Now imagine that that young woman is your daughter.” The authors also freely note that equally terrible murders occur daily in this country without achieving the notoriety that Inge’s did.

    Much of the book is dedicated to exonerating the police who were first at the crime scene and who were repeatedly and publicly accused of “fabricating” evidence against Inge’s suspect boyfriend Fred van der Vyver (who was acquitted).

    The current authors demonstrate the utter improbability, even impossibility, of such accusations being valid, meanwhile casting severe doubt on the motives and competence of several supposed experts (some international) involved in the case. And all the argumentation in the book is driven by the doctrine “facts count. Provable and hard facts. Not perceptions.”

    This is not an easy book to read. It is hugely detailed and infinitely careful. It tends (for solid reasons) to be repetitious. But it is a superb demonstration of passionate commitment to the search for truth.

    Perhaps most damningly, the book contains two and a half pages of questions directed to Van der Vyver, and focusing on highly suspicious elements in his story. And of course, the book’s appearance against the Pistorius-Steenkamp background gives it added fascination.


    Sensationalised murder affords us a chance to keep an open mind
    Cape Times – 11/07/2014
    Reviewer: Karina M Szczurek

    Inge Lotz, a Stellenbosch student, was found brutally murdered in her flat in March 2005. Her boyfriend at the time, Fred van der Vyver, was put on trial for the deed. Anybody who has ever held an opinion about what had happened to Lotz the day of her death should read Thomas and Calvin Mollett’s shockingly revealing Bloody Lies – Citizens Reopen the Inge Lotz Murder Case.

    With its suggestive cover and brilliant title, the book not only profoundly questions the justice of Fred van der Vyver’s acquittal but the entire judicial system involved in arriving at the verdict.

    In times when high-profile court cases are becoming staple media spectacles in which many of us feel the need and right to participate, it might be of utmost importance for all concerned to consider what is at stake. The authors of Bloody Lies present compelling evidence that a serious miscarriage of justice took place in Lotz’s case. However, it is commendable that they do not try to sell their findings as gospel truth. All they ask is that readers think for themselves.

    As the title of their book suggests, during their research the Mollett brothers uncovered some mindboggling discrepancies between the manifold interpretations of the evidence collected at the crime scene. One by one, they examined the available pieces of evidence – fingerprints, potential murder weapons, blood marks, autopsy report – and in the process developed methods for analysis which have the potential of revolutionising such procedures in the future.

    Throughout they kept an open mind. They emphasise that their investigation sprung from their own fascination with the case, nobody hired them. Their meticulous scientifically grounded experiments and revaluations are carefully presented and illustrated within the book (some of the visual footage is not for the faint-hearted).

    In all the vital points the authors reached radically different conclusions from those presented to the court by expert witnesses. Tasked with assisting a just ruling, instead expert witnesses are often called upon to intentionally mislead the court to affect a favourable outcome for one of the parties. Bloody Lies exposes a flawed system where the court more often than not is faced with negligence, indifference, or worse, ruthlessness and malice. During the Lotz trial careers of hard-working and well-meaning people were thus ruined.

    It is impossible to cover all the relevant bases of this case in a single book, thus some niggling questions remain unanswered.

    But the authors have set up a website to which they refer throughout the book and where interested readers are encouraged to address them.

    Bloody Lies shines a penetrating light into the murky procedures of how evidence is collected and examined.

    People in their respective fields would be wise to re-examine both processes and to implement regulations which will make them less prone to error and misinterpretation.

    Inge Lotz’s senseless death had tremendous impact on the lives of those who knew her and all who were involved with the investigation.

    Nobody walked away unscathed.

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